Plant Guide


Sisyrinchium striatum 'Aunt May'

Clump-forming evergreen perennial with stiff,  linear to sword-shaped, grey-green leaves and creamy yellow leaf margins. Star-shaped, pale yellow flowers during early summer, clustered along erect, 0.7-0.9 m long stems. Sisyrinchium striatum is native to Chile and Argentina.

Synonym: Sisyrinchium striatum 'Variegatum'. This plant has been has been reclassified as Phaiophleps nigricans 'Aunt May', but is still much more widely known under the original name, and hence is listed here as Sisyrinchium striatum 'Aunt May'.

Plant in a sunny or partially shaded position in any well-draining soil. Hardy to about -150C (a bit less hardy than the species itself). Tolerates poor soils. Copes with dry spells once established, but really prefers a regular moisture supply. Does not tolerate boggy or waterlogged soils. Suitable for coastal gardens as longs as it is not constantly exposed to strong winds. Remove spent flower stems and discoloured leaves. Divide the plant every couple of years and replant the separate fans.

Striking plant for a structural accent or focal point, in particular when planted in groups. Combine with contrasting foliage plants, such as fine-leafed grasses like Carex species and shrubs with relatively large, rounded leaves such as Bergenia.

Type of plant

Herbaceous - Perennial


0.6 x 0.6 m with flowering stems to 0.9 m long

Landscape Use

architectural foliage plant, foliage colour, coastal gardens


  • Temperature: Hardy
  • Light: Medium High
  • Moisture: Medium
  • Soil: Light Medium Heavy
  • Wind tolerance: Average
  • Coastal tolerance: High